IT Pros Make Job-Hopping A Way Of Life - InformationWeek

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3/25/2015
04:06 PM
David Wagner
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IT Pros Make Job-Hopping A Way Of Life

IT pros are always looking for the next job (actively or passively). Why can't anyone sit still?

10 Sweet Job Perks In Tech
10 Sweet Job Perks In Tech
(Click image for larger view and slideshow.)

What is going on in IT? You guys don't seem to want to stay where you are.

A quarter of the 240 IT pros surveyed by CareerBuilder are actively looking for a new job, even though they are already employed. Over 80% of the 1,300 IT pros surveyed by TEKsystems are open to hearing about a new job, even as they say they are happy with their current jobs. On average, according to CareerBuilder, IT pros said they receive 32 job solicitations per week, and a full 77% said they are responding to those solicitations by submitting 10 or more resumes every week.

It is the world's biggest game of musical chairs.

On one level it makes total sense. While unemployment has been low in IT, wages have not risen as much as you'd expect given the tighter job market. It seems practical and sensible that you're looking to regain multiple years' worth of stagnant wages, and possibly lost savings from unemployment, in the wake of the financial crisis.

[ How do your IT skills stack up against the ones with the greatest market demand? Read 15 Hot Skill Sets For IT Pros In 2015. ]

Money alone isn't the cause of the endless job-searching. The reasons change depending on whether or not a person is actively dissatisfied with his or her job. According to the CareerBuilder survey, 18% of respondents said they were dissatisfied with their jobs. Of this group, 58% said they were actively looking for a job. For two thirds of these "dissatisfied" respondents (66%), salary was cited as a main reason for leaving; 65% also said they were looking for a new position because they didn't feel valued by their current employer.

Among the CareerBuilder survey respondents who were not dissatisfied with their jobs, the reasons for hunting are different. Here are the top three factors that respondents who don't hate their jobs listed as reasons for seeking new IT employment (multiple responses allowed):

  • job stability (69%)
  • location (64%)
  • good culture (60%)

The survey results lead me to conclude that a salary never looks worth it when you are unhappy at work. The results also show that the things that make us happy in a job aren't actually money related. Salary is fourth on the list of reasons that happy people choose to stay in their jobs, after factors such as liking co-workers, work/life balance, and benefits.

So why are so many happy IT people job-hopping?

(Image: Joao Perdigao via Flickr)

(Image: Joao Perdigao via Flickr)

I'm starting to wonder if the reason isn't "because that's what we do" or "because we can." Or maybe it is that "the grass is always greener." Those stats about being bombarded by solicitations (though I'm inclined to think people are exaggerating a bit for the survey) show a lifestyle of constant demand. The IT talent gap means that the best of you (and some of the worst of you) are constantly being peppered with an opportunity to change.

The stigma of job-hopping is starting to recede, too. A survey of 324 workers conducted by Accountemps shows that views about job-hopping vary by age. When asked the question, "Is job hopping losing its stigma?" 57% of survey respondents aged 18 to 35 said yes, 38% of 35- to 54-year-olds agreed, and only 22% of Baby Boomers said yes. Basically, employee loyalty seems to be age-related.

Could it be we're sometimes leaving a good thing to see what the next thing has in store for us, because we know we can always try something else if it doesn't work out? Or is it that there is so much temptation out there that we're all like a bunch of dieters walking through a bakery?

Job satisfaction keeps dropping. According to the CareerBuilder survey, 65% of IT workers responding said they were satisfied with their jobs in 2014; that's down from 72% who said they were satisfied in 2013. It seems we're less happy with the next chair we jump into than we were with the one before it. If we're not careful, we're going to find we're stuck in the most uncomfortable chair at the party.

What do you think? Are you actively looking for a job this year? If so, why? Is job-hopping regularly OK? Are you inundated with solicitations and potential other jobs? How many of them are you applying to? What makes you happy with a job and could you find one to make you happy enough to stop looking at alternatives? Comment below.

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David has been writing on business and technology for over 10 years and was most recently Managing Editor at Enterpriseefficiency.com. Before that he was an Assistant Editor at MIT Sloan Management Review, where he covered a wide range of business topics including IT, ... View Full Bio
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David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
3/30/2015 | 1:28:18 PM
Re: The Tech Perspective: I am ( and You Should Be ) Going, Going ....Gone.
@Technocrati- Sounds like the key to your happiness might be in finding the most tech-inclined CEOs. Maybe we should do a ranking of the top tech-inclined CEOs that aren't at obvious tech companies. Do you think something like that would help IT pros?
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
3/30/2015 | 1:25:04 PM
Re: The Tech Perspective: I am ( and You Should Be ) Going, Going ....Gone.
@TerryB- Well, i don't know if I'm qualified to say what cutting edge is, but I can see that you have a full and busy (and sounds like fun) career. And one thing that seems great about your job is the amount of freedom you have. I think a lot of us yearn for a little more freedom in our jobs, at least at various points in our careers.
Angelfuego
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Angelfuego,
User Rank: Ninja
3/29/2015 | 3:13:34 PM
Re: The Tech Perspective: I am ( and You Should Be ) Going, Going ....Gone.
I guess the IT pros are looking for the next best thing, whether that may be a salary upgrade, more appreciative employment, etc. Since they have option due to job availabilities, I can see taking the leap of faith by seeking a new company to work for. I am actually pretty content with my current job, so I am not looking to hop anywhere. I did hear of an opening at a site much closer to my home, but resisted to apply for it due to the fear of the grass not being greener. I have a long commute, but the trade off is that I really like my site.
Technocrati
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Technocrati,
User Rank: Ninja
3/29/2015 | 2:06:07 PM
Re: The Tech Perspective: I am ( and You Should Be ) Going, Going ....Gone.

@yalanand    You are right.   Often any information a CEO gets regarding this area (IT) is mostly clouded by the mis-management along the way.    Nice insight.

Technocrati
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Technocrati,
User Rank: Ninja
3/29/2015 | 2:02:44 PM
Re: IT Pros jobhop to avoid Burnout
@Ash001   Great point !  That is the reality of it !   You will never get the time to recover unless you move on.  Theses businesses will literally run you into the ground.  Send flowers and have the next one in place before the dust settles.

It is shameful, while everyone hides behind their definition of Capitalism.  American business does not want Americans to go visit other lands, because they would see how the rest of the world lives and makes it work !  

Six weeks paid vacation ?   Unheard of in America.   On second thought, America does have it's version - It is called "Unpaid layoff".

So given all of this, it is best for admins and engineers to "Get going, going Gone."

 

 
Ashu001
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Ashu001,
User Rank: Ninja
3/29/2015 | 1:12:48 PM
Re: The Tech Perspective: I am ( and You Should Be ) Going, Going ....Gone.
Technocrati,

Most companies fall in the second bracket you mentioned here.

Sad but true-Most companies just give lip service to Innovation.

 
Ashu001
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Ashu001,
User Rank: Ninja
3/29/2015 | 12:03:30 PM
IT Pros jobhop to avoid Burnout
David,

This is something I have noticed amongst more and more IT Folks today(especially those who work in Basic IT Administration/Maintainence);they get pushed to accomplish more and more in Less and Less time(with No resources to Boot too!).

And when they ask for a raise(for the extra hours they work as well as for all those weekends they are on the job because you can't afford to inconvenice Users during the regular work-week);most of them are left Burnt out at the end of 3-4 year period and just want a break from their existing job so they switch thinking The Grass is Greener on the other side(so to speak).

Is this always true?

Not really;but atleast they get the breaks they need which are otherwise just not forthcoming especially in America where no company offers more than 10 days paid Vacation anymore;Job Switching is one of the Best ways to take a longer break (especially in a Field as in-demand and as fluid as IT today).

 
yalanand
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yalanand,
User Rank: Ninja
3/28/2015 | 2:32:10 PM
Re: The Tech Perspective: I am ( and You Should Be ) Going, Going ....Gone.
@David: Yup most of us feel that way. Most of us are like "hey didn't that company develop that technology? Why not go work under them? They know better!" which is not usually the case every now and then, and if it were, Cyanogen wouldn't be competing with Google Android to buy it out.
yalanand
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yalanand,
User Rank: Ninja
3/28/2015 | 2:30:02 PM
Re: The Tech Perspective: I am ( and You Should Be ) Going, Going ....Gone.
@Technocrati: Basically tech people suffer from having really bad managers who carry up the working of the tech department like a wildfire but in the process the information gets slightly changed, and this creates misdirections in decision making, particularly from the house of the CEO.
Technocrati
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Technocrati,
User Rank: Ninja
3/27/2015 | 8:21:30 PM
Re: The Tech Perspective: I am ( and You Should Be ) Going, Going ....Gone.

That is an interesting question Dave,  something I had not really  thought much about because I try so much to live in the moment.   But thinking back, I think it depends on the type of business.   

If they are technically avant garde,  then ideas are accepted and moved on.   While if the business sees tech ( and my role consequently ) as purely an "aid" then I have had less success in influencing new ideas.  No matter how brilliant.

This is where it gets tricky. If the company does not understand tech, it has been my experience that they don't even appreciate it (tech) even though they love their iPhone.

 

I don't understand this - Do these types of CEO's think tech is magic ?  It's funny it goes something like this, CEO: Who is that new guy ?   Trusted Overpaid Advisor better know as VP of Whatever  responds , "He is in the engineering department. Brilliant CEO responds, "Oh.  When is lunch ? "  

And I love this one, when you cross paths later and you get the look of  Who is he again ?    

I am thinking of my most recent CEO, who was exactly like this.  They have some perception of what tech and tech professionals are, which are usually erroneous on both counts.  But strangly they can seem to understand the revenue the use of it brings.

This particular CEO was more fortunate than able and sadly I think that is more the norm rather than the exception.

CEO's and the companies they run are influenced by many things that one would think they would be immune to -  Economy of Scale ( and Daddy's money ) is the only thing that keeps them (CEO's) from being exposed as the inept "leaders" they think they are.

I digress somewhat, but the relationship of the CEO's views regarding tech permeates the entire company.  Of course this is a multi-faceted question which I have only taken the liberty to skim yet in my case the negative has not always the case in the adoption of recommendations to improve systems, which is probably why I get so incensed when it happens now.   

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